Search and Rescue.

Last evening I returned on the ferry from Strangford to Portaferry.  It was a dark, cold and blustery night.  I was comfortable in my warm car and looking forward to a glowing coal fire back home.  The men who keep the ferry service going are to be commended for their endurance in these winter months.

Portaferry is usually quiet, but this evening as the boat pulled into port, green and red lights were flashing and sirens were going off at the lifeboat house.  Someone instructed the ferry to wait offshore.  There was an emergency at sea and the lifeboat had to be launched.  More brave men headed off seaward into the dark in answer to some distress call.  The ferry docked safely.  We all secretly hoped others would be safe tonight and prayed.

An hour later I noticed an helicopter overhead and the lifeboat in the lough.  Both has search lights scanning the water below.  A vehicle had blue lights flashing.  Brendan and I went down to the shore.  A police vehicle stopped with us and told us a flair at sea had been reported earlier.  The lifeboat responded as did a rescue helicopter from Dublin, to help search the sea for anyone in danger.

It was dramatic to see the large search light scanning the lough.  A large area of the water lit up in the dark.  Someone in danger would be glad of this light shining on them.  Life or death.  The  helicopter remained for some time.  What a good job the men on the rescue services do. They are willing to give of their time and skills to help others.


Dramas often happen in our life that cause fear and anxiety.  Sometimes it seems we are on a stormy sea when troubles come.   I needed rescued five years ago.  I had fourth stage cancer.  I was dying.  I went through dark days but God brought me through them.  Jesus shone his light on me and rescued me up out of the sea of despair and death.  Jesus is the light of the world.  He healed me and gave me new life.  He will rescue you.  He is searching for you with his light.

I slept late this morning.  Oh how sweet sleep is when one awakes rested and secure.  My  husband brought me my breakfast in bed!

The room was brighter than normal.  The sunlight was shining on Strangford Lough.  The light from the sun and its reflection on the water brightened up our home and gave added warmth.  We have our own micro climate.  The weather reports on the radio don’t seem to apply to us.

What a good day to wake up to.  The drama of the previous evening was forgotten.  A brighter light shone this morning.  I checked the BBC news.  There was no report of people being rescued or anyone missing.

The moon will be as bright as the sun, and the sun will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days in one!  So it will be when the LORD begins to heal his people and cure the wounds he gave them. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭30‬:‭26‬ NLT)

There is a saying,”The darkest hour is just before dawn”.   Only believe.  Hang in there.  Light and rescue are on the way.

I Must Go Down To The Sea Again

imageI am inspired to write this blog after reading “Sweet Killough, let down your Anchor”,  written by Maurice Hayes.  His mother was born in Listowel Co Kerry.  Living in Killough at the other end of Ireland seemed a million miles in the 1930s.  Her mother sent her a copy of the Kerryman every week.  News from home kept his mum in touch.  She seldom got to visit Kerry.

Hopefully my experience will give you a flavour of life along Strangford Lough near my home in Portaferry, N Ireland.  For my family abroad, my friends and followers dotted around the world, please take a walk with me on this pleasant November morning.

Brendan and I decided to take a walk, soon after sunrise.  Each time we take a walk we get a glimpse of the wildlife along the seashore, in the water, in the air or on the nearby grasslands.  This morning was no exception.

In the bay in front of us many colourful buoys, all shapes and sizes bob about in the water.  They provided anchors for yachts during the summer.  The swallows have left and so have the boats.  They will winter out in the safety of some yard.  Each buoy has a bird perched on it.  The biggest buoy has the biggest seabird, ranging from a heron, cormorant to some seagulls.  They squabble for supremacy.
They rest there enjoying the rising sun and still air.

Along the road I see a small upturned crab, partly eaten.  How did a crab get stranded along the road. I believe it is the remains of a meal a crow had left behind.  There is a forest along part of the shore.  Crows settle there in the evening.  In the morning most of them head off to feed on fields inland.  Not so our resident crows.  There are a dozen of these birds that have adapted to living off food from the shore.  As I was driving one day a crow dropped a sea shell onto the road.  The shell cracked open and the crow enjoyed a tasty morsel.  Clever creature.  They have adapted to foraging along the shore: food at their doorstep.

Brendan drew my attention to two aeroplanes flying west overhead, one in front of the other, to a far off shore.  We are enjoying having our feet on the ground after our recent travels.  We are beside still waters instead, having our souls restored.

The Lord is my shepherd;  he leadeth me beside the still waters. (‭Psalms‬ ‭23‬:‭1-2‬ KJV)

We heard a honking sound from the other side of the lough.  There were large birds, I think swans, flying in formation to our right. Brendan counted fourteen, the number of our  children.  They have flown the nest.  Gone but not forgotten.  This day forty four years ago I gave birth to our first child.  So started many years of child rearing.  A new season for us now.

A group of oyster catchers were hardly noticeable along the water’s edge.  They sprang into flight as we approached.  Herons and oystercatchers live happily together along the shore.  Gulls will try to chase herons, much to their annoyance and screech their disapproval.

A lone curlew catches Brendan’s attention.  He takes a closer look with the binoculars.  It has a distinctive long curved bill.  My Little book of Birdwatching comes in handy.  A few blackbirds dart into the hedgerows, taking shelter for the winter.  I was delighted to see a group of the Brent Geese sheltering behind Ballyhenry Island.  They had ventured down the coastline from Newtownards.  They looked fat and their white under bellies were high lighted in the low sunshine.  I can expect them soon to be feeding near the bottom of our garden.

A large bird dropped speedily into a field nearby.  It later perched on the top branch of a tree in the hedge row in the distance.  We could see markings on the back feathers.  We knew it was a bird of prey, but which one?  I looked up my Little Book.  It was a female kestrel.

The ultimate visitor was a seal diving into the seaweed offshore.  This area must be his territory.  We have met him before.

All of us were enjoying the unexpected warm morning.   Brendan and I returned home uplifted, thankful for the beauty of creation around us.  I had braced myself for a cold wind with hat, scarf and gloves.   But no, it was a pleasant, warm, bright morning down by the sea.  Unlike John Masefield’s description of his going down to the sea in his poem  ” Sea Fever”.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

Thank you for sharing my walk down by the sea.

The Power of Touch

Yes I believe there is power in touch.

Power is transmitted by touch from one person to an other.  Love is transmitted by touch.  Warmth is transmitted by touch.  Care is transmitted by the touch of a hand.  Reassurance is transmitted by touch.  Welcome and greeting are transmitted by a hand shake.  Healing is transmitted by touch.  Comfort is transmitted by touch.  We keep warm by touch.  Touch brings peace, stillness and rest.


An embrace demonstrates inclusiveness, the opposite of rejection.  A pet, whether it is a cat, chicken, dog or horse responds to the touch of his owners hand.  They are reassured that they are important to their owner.

Christian marriage vows include the words, “Do you take (name) to be your wife to have and to hold from this day forth. Having someone to hold or touch is necessary for people.  God said it was not good for man to be alone.  Marriage is important for companionship.  Ecclesiastes says Two are better than one.  When they lie down they keep warm.  This is so true as we approach winter.

I want to give you some examples of the power of touch.

A new born baby was revived when he lay on his mother’s breast.  The mum spoke to her lifeless child while she and her husband lovingly touched him.  Another new born baby was placed on his mother’s chest as she lay in a coma.  Her heart responded to the baby’s cry.  The mother made a full recovery.

Life and healing flow through touch.  How comforting for each of my babies to be held in their father’s big hands.  My husband was at the birth of each child and held each one and welcomed him into the world with his voice and reassuring touch.

When I held each of my new born babies in my arms love flowed from my heart to the baby.  The baby automatically began to suckle when he touched my breast.  My body responded to my baby’s touch by producing milk for the baby.  In the early years of a child’s life he will feel his dad and mum’s touch often.  It is in the family that we learn about touch.  In public people keep their boundaries and don’t often touch.

Jesus broke that protocol.  He and his disciples touched people outside of family to impart healing.

In the Bible, the first mention of Jesus touching anyone happens when he lays hands on the little children. The women wanted Jesus to lay hands on their children and pray.

Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. (‭Matthew‬ ‭19‬:‭7, 13-15‬ NIV)

He touched a little girl and heals her.

Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jairus, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” (‭Mark‬ ‭5‬:‭22-23‬ NIV)

It was important for Jesus to touch people to impart healing.

“Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.”(‭Luke‬ ‭4‬:‭40‬ KJV)

A woman with a issue of blood for twelve years believed if she touched Jesus’ garment she would be healed.

Just then a woman with an issue of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the hem of his cloak.  Jesus turned to her and said Your faith has made you whole.”

He instructed his disciples to do the same.

They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. (‭Mark‬ ‭6‬:‭13‬ NIV)

They will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (‭Mark‬ ‭16‬:‭17-18‬ NIV)

Jesus told his followers to touch people and they would receive the Holy Spirit.

They laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (‭Acts‬ ‭8‬:‭17‬ KJV)

The personal touch is important to Jesus.  Through one touching another with his hands healing is imparted as Jesus taught us.  When each of my family prayed and laid hands on me for my healing I felt heat coming into my body from his hands.  The power of God is transmitted though touch.  Like power comes into the battery of an iPhone through the charger, power comes from one person to another when we pray in Jesus name.

Reach out and touch someone today.  You will bring change.  People are too busy rushing and working starved of love.





A Promised land with Fruit Trees.

I am in Slovakia today.  I had bread and honey for breakfast.

The harvest is gathered from the plum, grape, apricot and apple trees.  Some trees are already pruned. Overstretched branches are loped off and dressed with white paint to protect from disease.   Winter will begin soon.  The fruitful trees can rest.


I glimpsed rich, red colours on the fence between my son’s garden and his neighbour.  I ventured outside to take a closer look.   Lovely apples were growing on a tree trained to grow sideways.  They sparkled in the afternoon sunshine.  The nutritious cluster outnumbered the leaves left on the branches.  Healthful fruit left untouched.  No excited child’s hand to grab them.  No careful gardener to proudly harvest and share his fruit.

Perhaps the neighbour is too old or frail.  Maybe no grandchildren squealing with joy as they chase each other between the fruitful boughs.  When I enter my son’s hallway there is a sweet smell.  Boxes of red apples are piled high, the harvest from his garden.  A bag is filled each time he visits relatives or friends.

My son Aaron moved with his family to Slovakia.  He has inherited a house he didn’t build and a garden he didn’t tend.

You made their children as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them into the land.  Their children went in and took possession of the land.  They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells already dug, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in abundance. They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they reveled in your great goodness. (‭Nehemiah‬ ‭9‬:‭23-25‬ NIV)

So I have come down to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. (‭Exodus‬ ‭3‬:‭8‬ NIV)

God is faithful to keep his promises.  When I first read the story in the bible that God wanted his people to enter the promised land I believed it.  He promised them plenty of bread, honey, fruit and houses.  Now my children are inheriting their promised land.

A Sparrow Falls to the Ground.

When Brendan and I travelled with our family on holiday down through Ireland, we saw that there is plenty of space in the countryside, forests and bogland uninhabited.  When we fly over Canada we see wide open plains below with few towns.  As I travel through Slovakia I see open fields, valleys and plenty of forest lands.

Why do people say there is not enough room on the earth for people to live?   Why do people want to control the population of the world, saying there is not enough food?  Will not God look after mankind, whom he made in his image.

In these open places wild life abound.  No one sees this abundance of life except God.  We have the priveledge of admiring the wild life that turns up near to where we live.  The blackbirds in our garden, the fox that comes to steal the chicken, or the swallows or swans that fly overhead.  Where do they lay their head at night?


Jesus said,
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭8‬:‭20‬ NIV)
We only get a glimpse of the beauty of living creatures from nature programmes.

In Job the writer says,

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.

“Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep?

Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.

Who gives the ibis wisdom or gives the rooster understanding?

“Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions

Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food? (‭Job‬ ‭38‬:‭4, 16, 18, 36, 39, 41‬ NIV)

“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds; they leave and do not return. “Who let the wild donkey go free? Who untied its ropes? I gave it the wasteland as its home, the salt flats as its habitat.

“Will the wild ox consent to serve you? Will it stay by your manger at night?

“The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, though they cannot compare with the wings and feathers of the stork. (‭Job‬ ‭39‬:‭1, 4-6, 9, 13‬ NIV)

We only see a small part of what God has created.  He cares for it all.

I saw this photograph today.  It reminded me of the verse when Jesus said,

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (‭Matthew‬ ‭10‬:‭28-29, 31‬) NIV.

God will look after you and provide for you.

Beside A Bubbling Brook.

Psalm 110 v 5 – 7 NLT
The Lord stands at your right hand to protect you.
He will strike down many kings in the day of his anger.
He will shatter heads over the whole earth.
But he himself will be refreshed from brooks along the way.
He will be victorious.


Out our window today the forest looks golden.

Brendan and I take a walk in the woodsimage in the High Tatras of Slovakia.  The sun is shining giving us a bright new morning.  The ground is covered in a layer of gold, brown and red leaves.  A brook flows below in the valley.  There are houses built there.  They are welcome retreats for summer visitors. The mountains and the trees give shade from the high temperatures of summer for the residents.
For us it is a short visit.  We will be back home in Ireland when the snow arrives and the bubbling brook freezes over.

Inspired by Iceland

When I was suffering from cancer back in 2010 a lady had a picture of a volcano when she was praying for me.  During the colonoscopy the monitor showed the tumour of cancer.  It was a bulbous and fiery mass, like a volcano.  Today again someone mentioned a volcano in prayer.


Back in 2014 I visited Iceland.  When I arrived there I read Psalm 18.  It perfectly describes a volcano.  Iceland has been built up out of the depths of the ocean by eruptions of volcanos down through the years.  Here is what the Psalm says.

The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. (‭Psalm‬ ‭18‬:‭5-6‬ NIV)

The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook;  Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.  The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord, at the blast of breath from your nostrils. (‭Psalm‬ ‭18‬:‭15‬ NIV)

He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. (‭Psalm‬ ‭18‬:‭8, 16-17‬ NIV)

Deuteronomy 4 v 24. For our God is a consuming fire.  God’s presence is likened to fire or a volcano.

On my visit to Iceland God showed me that he rescued me from cancer and death.  He was angry at my enemies of death and cancer coming to destroy me.  He burnt up my enemies in the fire from his mouth.

Who is like our God?  He will continue to deal with my enemies with the fire of his breath.

Psalm 107 v 2. Has The Lord redeemed you?  Then speak out!   Tell others he has saved you from your enemies.